INDIO, Calif. - Former Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown officially launched his campaign today for Riverside County Sheriff in a four-stop, county-wide kickoff tour. Brown made stops in Indio, Hemet, Murrieta, and Riverside to highlight endorsements and to share his vision for the Sheriff's Department.
Brown made his first stop in Indio at the John J. Benoit Detention Center. His trip there highlighted the new $330 million East County Detention Center that is set to open at the end of summer. He claims current Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff is unwilling to develop a new plan to open the new jail.
Last year, a News Channel 3 report outlined the Sheriff Department's concerns over funding for personnel to staff the larger facility. In January, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors allocated $7 million to the project.
Along with correctional personnel, cooks, custodians, dietitians, accountants and medical professionals will be needed to staff the facility, which will be situated at Oasis Street and Highway 111.
At the jail Wednesday, Brown outlined his own plan for the jail and the current budget issues. He stated, "We've got to stop the bleeding. We've got to be able to retain our employees and we have fantastic employees, outstanding employees. Outstanding men and women. Some of the best in the world working for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. We've got to be able to retain those employees. And secondly, by increasing the number of less expensive and perfectly capable correctional deputies in this facility. We will be able to staff this facility at a lower dollar amount and be able to get our sheriff's back on the street where they belong."
Sheriff Stan Sniff responded in an email, saying,
"There is not sufficient jail staff at our existing Indio Jail, to even partially open the new Benoit Detention Center later this year, due to the completely different design layout. The Sheriff's staff has worked closely with the County CEO staff over these past few years in resolving that staffing shortfall, but deep county budget reductions have delayed the hire of the necessary staffing. This past month, the County Board of Supervisors finally approved a small funding increase recommended by the CEO to at least begin hiring some the required additional staff in an effort to move that jail project forward; that funding is in the process of being released to the Sheriff, hopefully soon."
Lieutenant Chad Bianco has also announced his run Sheriff. He's served in the Sheriff's Department for over 25 years.
The Primary Election is June 5th followed by the General Election in November.